What Backyard Chickens Should and Should Not Eat

At Rent Backyard Hens we receive a lot of questions regarding what the hens should and should not eat when it comes to table scraps and what may be found growing in the yard. I love this question because it shows that our customers truly care about the health and well-being of the hens and what ultimately may get passed to humans through their eggs. As such, we've provided a list of foods that are considered healthy for chickens to eat and a list of food items that are best avoided. Please feel free to comment if we've left anything out - this post is considered a work in progress. Until then, happy pecking :)

Safe For Chickens

  • Almonds / Almond Butter
  • Apples
  • Bananas (and peel)
  • Basil
  • Beans (cooked)
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Bread
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Greens: lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, and carrot greens
  • Meat - pieces of cooked fish, beef, and pork cut up into small bites. In moderation, meat is good protein for the hens. No raw meat, please.
  • Mushrooms (that are safe for humans to eat)
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta (cooked)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Peas (raw, dried, or cooked)
  • Raisins
  • Rice (cooked)
  • Squash (winter and summer)
  • Stone Fruits (no seeds or pits)
  • Strawberries
  • Most Vegetables (raw or cooked)
  • Wheat

Not Safe for Chickens

  • Acorns
  • Alcohol 
  • Apple seeds (in excess)
  • Avocados and avocado skins and pits
  • Beans (dry)
  • Butter
  • Cherry pits
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Coffee grounds / caffein
  • Eggs (raw)
  • Fast Food
  • Fried food
  • Green onions
  • Moldy bread
  • Nightshade leaves (leaves from tomato plants, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers)
  • Onions
  • Potatoes (raw/uncooked)
  • Potato peels (raw)
  • Processed foods
  • Raw meat
  • Rhubarb
  • Salt (in excess)
  • Spoiled or moldy food
  • Stone fruit pits and seeds
  • Wild mushrooms

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